Tag Archive | LdM

Back in America

Let’s just say, leaving Italy was one of the most difficult things I have had to do.  I threatened to chain myself to the Duomo numerous times so I wouldn’t have to leaved.  But I’ve been back in the United States for about three weeks now.  I had to go back to reality and back to the rush of being a native New Yorker.  As much as I love living in the land of the brave, who wouldn’t miss Italy and all the travel opportunities I had while abroad? (10 countries in three months- just saying).

So here is a list of things that I miss from studying abroad:

  • The architecture- I made the Duomo my cell phone background because I miss walking past it every everyday, it’s not the same.
  • Browsing the street vendors-maybe I want to treat myself to a one euro bracelet that day.
  • The language- it’s a known fact that the Italian language is the most beautiful of them all.
  • Field trips during my classes- field trips aren’t as common at my home college.
  • The mini cappuccino machines by my classes- 50 cent cappuccino con cioccolata, yum!
  • Traveling during the weekends with my friends- Prague, Istanbul, Crete, London, etc.
  • The slow pace of life- okay, maybe I struggled with this while there (see above- Native New Yorker), but it’s definitely something I appreciate.  We should enjoy life and all aspects of it, not rush through it.
  • Italian pizza
  • Pasta with amazing sauces
  • Gelato
  • Panino shops
  • Just Italian food in general.
  • Walking places and exploring the town- can’t do that in my hometown, which is unfortunate since I came home to a broken car.
  • Fashion
  • The store fronts- they’re so carefully crafted, they lure me in every time!
  • People calling me bella- okay, sometimes it’s creepy, but other times it’s nice and acts as a good ego boost!
  • Being mistaken as a native Italian.
  • Having traveling and soaking in your surroundings as your biggest responsibilities in life.

I want to thank my parents, family and friends as well as Marist College and Lorenzo de’ Medici for the best four months of my life.

I will continue to write posts about looking back at my experiences as well as offering advice to those considering to go abroad.

A presto!

il Dumo, Firenze- who wouldn't miss this?

il Duomo, Firenze- who wouldn’t miss this?

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Lake Como & Switzerland

This past weekend I went on a trip with my university to Lake Como and Switzerland. Both are considered high-end vacation spots and boast mere beauty.  The Alps painted the background of every picture throughout the entire trip. Also, one of the things that impressed me most about this trip were the variations of colors in the water, so bare with me as I discuss it.

Lake Como is the host of many vacation homes of famous people, including George Clooney.  The length of Lake Como is 146 km, the third largest lake in Italy, and  is surrounded by shops and houses.  There are beautiful villas with Italian gardens, which exhibit symmetry and beautiful fountains and statues in order to impress guests.  And they do. We only had enough time to sit down for lunch in the main part of Lake Como, but at least we got to face the lake and the boats sitting on it.

Lake Como

We then took a ten minute ferry ride to Bellagio.  Lake Como is shaped like the letter “Y,” and the Bellagio sits at the tip of the peninsula separating the lake’s two southern arms.  It is nicknamed “the pearl of Lake Como.”  There is a village of small shops filled with jewelry, fine china, house goods, and food that are painted yellow or pink with green shutters.  They seemed to have been painted bright colors to go with the euphoria one feels on the island.  At the end of the island there is an overlook that offers a stunning view of the lake and the land surrounding it.  The water is a deep blue-green, with dark shades of teal throughout.  It always seems to be glistening with the sun’s reflection and movement.

Bellagio

After about two hours we went back on the ferry and onto a bus that took us all the way up to St. Moritz, Switzerland.  We made one scenic stop along the way.  It was at sunset and we were able to take pictures of sun’s reflection on a lake.  Again with the Alps in the background, it was so serene.  The water was a deep, bold blue with pink and green reflections from the hills and sun.

lake in Switzerland

We stayed at St. Moritz overnight and then went on a walking tour the next morning. St. Moritz is considered a village (because of its small population) and its main, and only, industry is tourism.  They don’t want factories that can interfere with the land’s natural beauty.  Therefore, the village really caters to the tourists.  There were many kiosks and souvenir shops that were open, even though it was a Sunday (in small, European places they still close on Sundays).  The mayor of the town also had their symbol, the sun, trademarked for tourism.  Their emblem is the sun because, usually, 322 days of the year it is sunny in St. Moritz.  This coincides with the cheerful disposition of its inhabitants.  The Swiss are very welcoming and proud of their surroundings, they want to share it with everyone.

St. Moritz

We stopped at a restaurant/cafe during the tour called Hauser.  There I bought homemade Swiss chocolate; mine had hazelnuts in it. And it was almost finished by the time I got back home that night.  Our guide pointed out many sites to us, such as a tower with a clock that was painted a blue to match the sky, the first “Palace” hotel, and the “Chesa Veglia.”  “Chesa Veglia” translates to old house; he explained to us how farmers used to keep their cows in the basement of the house because of the heavy snow falls and the heat radiating from them would help warm the house.

Old House

After the tour we took a train for three hours back into Italy.  The Ferrovia retica, la linea del Bernina. (Thankfully, they spoke Italian in the part of Switzerland we were in).  The ride offered many beautiful sites of the hills, small villages, and rivers running from the Alps.  Unfortunately I was really struggling staying awake.  The color of the rivers though was a piercing ice blue that I did not know could exist without chemicals or being digitally enhanced.  It might be this color because of the glaciers of the Alps.

As we progressed further down the line, at Lago di Poschiavo, the water color was more similar to that of Lake Como. It was darker, with deep shades of teal.

Lago di Poschiavo

We finally arrived in Tirano, Italy.  It was a small town that I normally would have loved to have explored, but I instead opted to get food before we got on the bus for another six hours.

As for the Italian words of the post- lago is lake, since we were constantly surrounded by beautiful lakes and bodies of water, and l’autobus is bus (since I spent so much time on one this weekend).